Niles riders place at Barrel Fest
Camp Eberhart, near Three Rivers, was the site of the Great Lakes Vaulting Barrel Fest on Saturday, Feb. 21, and a vaulting clinic on Saturday and Sunday. The fest and clinic were hosted by the Agape Vaulters of Eau Claire.
Vaulting is the sport of gymnastics and dance on horseback. The vaulting barrel, however, is an important piece of practice equipment used in the sport. Designed to simulate a stationary horse, vaulters create and perform their compulsory and freestyle moves on the barrel so any falls or slips don't hurt the horse. Once the vaulters polish their moves, they perform them on the vaulting horse at the walk, trot, and canter.
The barrel fest gives vaulters a warm competition venue during the winter months when many vaulting teams curtail horse practices due to the cold temperatures in an indoor arena.
The barrel fest classes included individual compulsory movements, individual freestyle routines, pairs, team, and a costume class.
Twenty vaulters from two vaulting teams participated in the barrel competition. Kaitlyn Beisecker, of Charlottesville, Va., judged the barrel fest. Beisecker has been involved with vaulting since 1989 and is a Gold Medal level vaulter, placing in the Top 10 U.S. Women Vaulters twice. Beisecker conducted a vaulting clinic on Saturday and Sunday at Camp Eberhart, helping participating vaulters polish their compulsory movements and freestyle routines.
Ashley Rogers of Niles finished third in the Beginning Compulsories category and seventh in the Beginning Freestyle category. Tiffany Rogers of Niles placed second in her Novice Compulsories category and third in the Novice Freestyle category. The two teamed up for a fourth-place finish in the Beginning Pairs category.
The Diamond E Vaulters of Camp Eberhart are coached by Jackie Sindelar of Edwardsburg, The Agape Vaulters of Eau Claire are coached by Amy Deja of Stevensville and Jane Egger of Dowagiac.
Camp Eberhart has a year-round vaulting team but also incorporates vaulting in its summer camps. For more information, contact Julia Emanuel at (269) 244-5125 or go to the website at www.campeb.org.
The Agape Vaulters practice at the Agape Equestrian Center in Eau Claire. For more information, call Jane Egger at (269) 462-3206.
You can also get more information about vaulting from the American Vaulting Association, 5620 Vineta Court, Martinez, CA 94553, or at their website, www.americanvaulting.org.